Mandroid (1993)

Serious question: why does the super-powerful Mandroid need breathing tubes? It doesn’t breathe. What is the point of those tubes?

Eastern Europe, 1993. The Cold War has ended, and tons of technology and military hardware is now up for grabs to the highest bidder. Dr. Karl Zimmer happens to be a scientist with a new energy source, and the CIA just so happens to be that highest bidder. CIA agent Joe Smith has brought in Dr. Wade to examine Zimmer’s energy crystals, but really it’s all about a new automaton, the Mandroid, designed by Zimmer’s partner Drago. Also, Zimmer’s got a hot daughter, Zanna, and another assistant, Benjamin. Inevitably, Drago reveals he’s a bad guy, Eastern Europe reveals its still got a clueless police force with more AK-47s than it can count, and Benjamin gets turned invisible because…reasons. Also, the energy comes from mushrooms.

So now we have a scarred Eastern European supervillain in an iron mask named Drago and not Doctor Doom. He’s got a mute and homeless henchman too, aptly named The Mute, who goes from scared to full murder hobo in less than 24 hours. Benjamin is invisible. Wade learns how to power the all-powerful-except-for-the-eyes Mandroid. Zanna…is apparently important but doesn’t actually do anything. Eastern European cops show up in an APC and shoot at stuff with AKs. And CIA agent Joe Smith betrays the good guys, double-crosses the bad guys, and dies after proving to The Mute that he’s got more guns and therefore more bullets but probably would have died soon after anyway because he’s sucking down cigarettes like energy bars at a Crossfit convention. If you’re confused reading this, well, hell, I’m confused, and I just freaking watched the damn picture!

Mandroid feels like somebody wanted to make a movie about invisible men and killer robots from someone’s unwritten comic book idea, but the producer folks recommended doing something like setting up the world because actually establishing stuff like how we got here would be a good idea. It’s got ideas out the wazoo, and it just kind of throws them out every few seconds for the hell of it. A freaking five-year-old wrote the log line, which probably went something like, “Scientists fight over a super robot suit while one guy goes invisible and a homeless person does things, and explosions, and shooting, and mushrooms. Also, there is a hooker.” I don’t know why that five-year-old knows about hookers, but that is actually how the movie ends. Evil Drago is revealed to still be alive while a prostitute goes “Look, boobs are a thing” and then screams because Drago also reveals he looks like a bad goblin extra from The Hobbit films before excessive amounts of CG are added.

You know what’s great? Joe Smith and The Mute. The Mute is great because he eagerly turns into a psychopath given the first chance he gets, and he’s surprisingly into holding people at gunpoint. Joe Smith is great because he claims to be a freaking CIA agent named Joe Smith in Eastern Europe right after the end of the Cold War, and people actually believe him despite the total lack of anything identifying him as CIA and the fact that he has the worst name of any fake CIA agent I have ever heard of. Please tell me his middle name is something like ‘Eagle’ or ‘Freedom’ so my theory on his bullshit name is complete. If I ever am in a foreign country that only recently stopped being an American enemy, and I meet some dude named Bob Johnson who claims to be CIA, I wouldn’t trust him unless the freaking head of the agency showed up to personally tell me that yes, Bob is in fact an agent. And even then I wouldn’t trust him.

Do you know how Mandroid gets stopped? It gets hit in the eye. It only works because Dr. Zimmer’s cheap ass won’t spring for the good optics. Yeah, the day is saved because someone wanted bargain bin pricing.

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